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Early in the practice of Direct to Consumer (DTC) shipping of wine, age verification was a major concern and often used by some to argue why DTC should not be allowed. But we have come a long way since the wine industry began shipping its products to customers in 1987 (35 years ago). Thanks to technology and modern, responsible carriers such as UPS and FedEx, the risk of minors possessing alcohol that was delivered DTC is unlikely.

Published February 9, 2022 - The Executive Summary in response to the Executive Order 14036, “Promoting Competition in the American Economy” states “The direct-to-consumer model, common in wine, has been spreading to beer and spirits and offers distribution opportunities for small producers. Some, however, argue that direct shipment risks making alcohol available to underage drinkers. An FTC study of direct wine shipments found no evidence of such abuse…”

In fact, e-commerce platforms such as Vinoshipper are often closely scrutinized by alcohol control authorities to see if they are operating legally by running online “sting” operations, only to find the strict compliance and successful signed for deliveries does work.

Age verification in our modern digital society is far easier than traditional, in-person methods, and is no longer a hurdle for even the smallest companies for the following reasons:

  • Third-party vendors, such as IDology, make it seamless and inexpensive to verify a person’s identity and being “of age” prior to completing a transaction.
  • Verification systems compare basic public information, such as name, date of birth, and address, to ensure the buyer is of age, prior to allowing the purchase.
  • Enhanced verification systems are more effective than humans at detecting fake IDs.
  • Shipping regulations require that any packages containing alcoholic beverages are clearly labeled and require an adult signature prior to delivery, or the package is returned to the sender.
  • Carriers keep an accurate and traceable record of transactions that provides transparency and audibility for both companies and regulators.
  • Carriers also track by licensed vendors to ensure orders do not get picked up from unlicensed businesses or sent to locations they should not be going.

As the practice of shipping all alcohol products directly to consumers becomes mainstream, especially in the COVID era, it’s important for consumers and public policymakers to understand how far the industry has come in terms of safe and responsible practices, enhanced by modern technology.

Having alcohol products delivered directly to your door is both safe and an adult’s right.

Age Verification is one of four regular focus areas for regulators. Others include Licensing and Compliance, Tax Calculation and Collection, and Auditability. Think of the four areas as ALTA.

Original LinkedIn Article